I was born in Lancaster, in a hospital just a few blocks from the city rowhouse where my parents live now.
I lived the first six years of my life in Lancaster, thinking that horse and buggies, women with head coverings, and two-dollar-a-dozen fresh corn at roadside stands were normal realities of everyday life.
I left Lancaster, trading the odor of cow manure on freshly plowed fields for the scent of Hershey's chocolate infusing summer breezes.
I visited Lancaster, on Easters and Thanksgivings and Christmas Eves, for birthday parties and to see grandparents and cousins and to visit the friends we'd left behind.
I met people from Lancaster even as I moved furthur away, finding my way back yet again to visit college friends over semester breaks, downing giant pancakes at Jenny's Diner with Josh and Anne.
I came to see Lancaster as home again, when my parents moved back there a few years ago and when four couples and one single girl, all good friends of mine from college, settled down in close proximity.
I started to like my husband in Lancaster, over fireworks and a long walk at Lititz Springs Park. I started dating my husband in Lancaster, at a non-descript Panera off of Route 30. And I got married in Lancaster, at a beautiful church on the same street as my parents' house, on the same street as the hospital where I was born.
While I have only actually lived in Lancaster for six years, it, in many ways, feels like my truest earthly home.